Sammy Montana has worked in several different capacities. He served as the VP of Production and Development for the Producer of the HALLOWEEN remakes. Then he ran his own Film/TV literary management company, Anarchy Management and had an active list of clientele, including writers and directors. Currently, he is a script consultant drawing on his years of experience in the film industry. Under the Anarchy Management and Anarchy Management & Consulting banner, he is developing in-house projects. To get free screenwriting advice subscribe to his YouTube channel and visit his site. Sammy also provides high quality script consultation services.
It’s hard to feel any kind of writing motivation when you are facing writer’s block as a result of negative screenplay feedback. You can have very thick skin, but unless you are a sociopath, negative feedback or coverage on your script can make you ready to throw in the towel.
Three very effective methods that turn your procrastination into motivation are: practicing meditation/ or prayer, taking timeouts, and starting writing. Better yet, pretend like a crazy lady captured you and won’t let you leave until you fix and finish your damn novel. Remember Misery, anyone?
I have a theory that the reason many people experience writer’s block after getting negative screenplay coverage is due to interpreting the feedback as a direct threat to their self-esteem. On a conscious level, they may not believe there is a threat but they react like there is one. So without getting into a detailed psychological analysis on this whole topic, I strongly believe that the threat is more on a subconscious level. I write this from my experience and the experiences of friends and writers I know.
Although it is natural to be upset at the feedback, it is not natural to wallow in the blues over some piece of paper with some stranger’s viewpoints no matter who gave the feedback. I have found meditation/prayer very effective as a tool to clear your mind and center yourself so that your brain is receptive to thoughts, ideas, and solutions.
Many writers also use meditation/prayer as a ritual to better themselves, hence leading to better self-esteem. Now the key with the meditation is to think about thoughts and ideas other than the problems affecting you in general.
There are endless resources for meditation. Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 30-day meditation program that you can listen to on your Smart phone is great. Android has an app called Stop, Breath, and Think that is free. In iPhone, check the App store for free meditation apps. There are so many different types of meditation so do not let the variety overwhelm you. Pick any one of these and try it. If it helps keep using it. Otherwise try something else.
If you end up hating meditation go stare at animals at the zoo, stare at the mountains, stare at a lake, and most importantly breathe as you relax letting the emotions course through you. Do not judge the emotions. Just let them come and go on their own. This experience becomes a form of awake meditation if you let it. Try prayers such as the serenity prayer used in AA or even your own religious prayer. Whatever works for you use it. It is okay to use something, hate it, discard it, and try something else. However, it is not okay to assume a method doesn’t work unless you have tested it in the field first. Speaking of testing methods try the following links for great perspectives and solutions on the matter: How to get over Writer’s block and Creative solution to overcome writers block.
The Timeouts method is easy to use and usually produces effective results. Bear with me while I veer off this topic and bring it back home very quickly. I promise it will all make sense. For those parents that use timeouts to discipline the kids, why do you use them? The idea is to remove the child from the situation so that you can eliminate any more escalation of the current situation. Hopefully the child can think about his actions and the consequences that resulted. Yes, I know timeouts do not work with all kids but that’s a topic for another column. So when the kid thinks about his actions and consequences, in essence, he or she is actually meditating! See what I did there? I bet you didn’t know you were using a form of meditation in your life already.
For those that do not have kids, think about the times you ponder thoughts and ideas in solitude. That’s a form of meditation. You can actually do a timeout without meditation. The way to do that is to leave your writing area, even if you have to leave the house and go do something completely different. It must be something inspirational. For example, watching movies is inspirational.
Speaking of inspiration I strongly recommend the best blog I have read over the past year. I have a feeling most of the readers here will feel the same way. Without further adieu, go to: Zen habits If you do like this blog please comment on this article in the comments below. If you hate the blog, comment and tell me how much it sucks and why you feel that way. It’s all fair game. Anyway, I want you to realize that timeouts can also be something relaxing like laying in a beach chair and napping on the beach on a hot sunny day. There is no right way to do a timeout. Identify what works for you and do it. Timeouts are not an excuse to stop writing! So do not get any bright ideas. Capiche? Comprehende? Understand?
Remember when I mentioned earlier that there are three effective ways that I strongly believe would turn your procrastination into motivation? Well, I keep my promises. At least I try to most of the time. The third strategy is a paradoxical method. Drum roll please. I call it… START WRITING! Yes, that was in caps. Yes, my voice, if you were next to me now, would get louder. Let me repeat that again; START WRITING! What’s that you say? “I’m not feeling motivated.” Write anyway because motivation does not precede action. If you waited for motivation before writing to beat your “writer’s block” then you would get nothing done most of the time.
Your brain usually has nothing motivational to feed you. That is because your brain cannot think of anything to write in the first place. Your brain becomes motivated when you start writing something. You can even start writing about what you think you should be writing about. The writing will be crap but it will lead you to better ideas and solutions. I guarantee you that would break through your writers’ block.
If any or all three of these methods do not work then feel free to visit me via my contact form on my blog and ask for a free 15 min consultation by phone to help you find a way to resolve your block. Or go ahead and google writers block. Or ask someone else. Do anything. However, whatever you do, for god’s sake stop making excuses and either man up or woman up or… transgender up! Okay? Now go write and do not take no for an answer. I know you can do it. The fact that you have read through the article tells me that you have the strength in you to never let writers block ever stop you again. Whether you use that strength or lose it is up to you.
- More articles by Sammy Montana
- Balls of Steel: Pursuing a Screenwriting Career When You Feel Lost
- FREE Video: Use Fear to Propel Your Writing and Your Screenwriting Career